I came across an interesting post yesterday on another blog while I was taking a respite from re-reading mine and impressing myself with my own genius over and over and over again (it's hard to tell if I'm joking, isn't it?). Anyway, the blog post, written by the dapper Restaurant Refugee complained about people who complain about Washington, DC. (Meta, right?) From what I understood, his basic premise went something like this: People who hate DC are ignorant of all the tight activities and cosmopolitan culture that the District has to offer and these assholes don't know what they're talking about so they should move. Um, OK.
Now maybe it's because I like healthy debate, or perhaps it's because I'm a self-proclaimed DC antagonist, but most likely it's because I just like
Let's first explore RR's essay. Apparently he was out playing billiards with a crew of dudes who make bank. One of them, "James, a displaced New Yawker with a fancy law firm gig and the predictable attitude and intelligence of a Jets fan," decided to go off on how he hates specifically the women and dining choices in good ol' DC. In my opinion, if that's all he's complaining about, then, um, OK, let it ride.
But RR wasn't havin' it. In his mind he wished he had called his "friend" James a "khaki wearing carpet-bagger" and told him to move. In reality, though, RR said "something about [James] not knowing the restaurant scene at all and ensured that he never gets another invitation." Invitation to what, I have no idea, but if it's in DC, I get the feeling that James wouldn't give a sh*t. He hates DC, remember?!
Now, let's have a full disclosure moment: I've met RR in person once along with several other DC-area bloggers. My first impression was that he's a very nice guy, funny and, well, the man was wearing cuff links. What's there not to like? However, we differ on several very key levels, one of which is on our respective relationships with the city we both live in. Another is probably our bank accounts (mine's empty), but that's neither here nor there.
The point is, I disagree 100 percent with the underlying assumption accompanying this well written recount. Not everyone who doesn't adore DC is an ignorant asshole unwilling to give DC a fair shot. And unfortunately, several commenters on his blog, some of them fellow bloggers who I've met in person once or twice and whose company I've enjoyed (although I can't vouch for them feeling the same...), seemed to wholeheartedly agree with RR. A couple even added another twist-- not only are people who dislike DC ignorant assholes, but they're also somehow hankering to be "hip" by jumping on some invisible trendy bandwagon.
Dang, where to even start refuting that theory? Oh wait, this is easy, I'll just cut and paste what I already wrote in the comments section of RR's blog. I began with a breakdown of the Top 3 DC hater categories:
There is the “I hate myself, ergo I hate DC (and anywhere)” hater. Not cool. There is the “I’m used to such-and-such and hold that up as the gold standard for everywhere else” hater. Not cool. And then there are those of us who have lived here for a good while (comparatively to how long we’ve lived other places), who have done a lot of sh*t in this town and have come to the conclusion that it is rather lackluster. Sure, there are tons of museums. There are also tons of tourists. Sure, there is R’n'R Hotel. But is it really all that stellar that there’s *one* decent bar in this town? Sure, there’s Eastern Market, some decent restaurants and a nice park (to get raped in! ZING!). But is it worth sifting through the sea of backward doucheiness (and really, there is no more perfect way to generically describe so much of the population)? After a while it really tests one’s persistence. Luckily, I’m persistent. I also have such low expectations that if I see a pair of flat-front pants I f*cking write a blog about it. My opinion — DC is not that cool. Sorry. You hate me because I dislike where you (and I) live and have an opinion about it? Who’s really the jackass in this situation now?
And of course, me being the master debater (hee-hee) that I am, I continued:
Example: People think it’s "hip" to hate DC? Thanks for devaluing my opinion, which is different than yours by classifying it as a “hip” trend. My opinion is not a pair of skinny jeans. Classifying someone’s opinion as “hip” is uppity and demeaning and when uppity and demeaning isn’t done in a funny and entertaining manner it’s really annoying. I’ve talked to a wide variety of people and have found that DC (in general, probably not anyone on this forum) does not do well with differences of opinion. People shun reason for polemical arguments or just walk away in a huff. It’s quite entertaining actually, but can get old. Perhaps the partisanship is all due to the government, which is probably a root cause of why so much sh*t sucks here. Or maybe it’s a case of rampant close-mindedness. Or political correctness. Or fear of the other. Or a giant stick placed firmly up the ass.
Whatever. I have my forum where I’m free to hate all I want, which I hope I do with more hilarious observation and less bitter vitriol than I’m revealing here, so I’ll leave it at that. I just felt the need to stick up for the haters because not all of us are as uninformed as many, apparently, like to think.
Not bad, right? Maybe? Anyway, so far, only one person has counterpointed my counterpoint, saying that hating DC really is "hip" because there's more than one blog on that topic. There's also more than one person wearing goddamn Crocs and I'll be damned if that sh*t is considered "hip." Wow, look at that, I found another reason to hate DC -- the over- and wrongful usage of the word "hip." (See? It really is that easy...)
But again, this is all just my opinion, which means that, although I'd like to think my thoughts beget instant facts, I'm reasonable enough to know that (regrettably) that isn't true. What is true, however, is that I enjoy hearing the other side of the story. It's the only way I can learn. Perhaps if RR had simply offered up some suggestions about the dining scene or spoke up about the virtues of DC women instead of cutting his friend off, James would've changed his mind or at least gained the knowledge he needed to form a more complete judgment. Or maybe James is just too "hip" to care. After all, hating on DC is apparently trendy and just like a pair of high-waisted trouser jeans, he'll change his opinion when hating DC goes out of style. Yeah. That makes sense.
Anyway, when it comes down to it, I'd like to think that I don't blog blindly about sh*t in DC I find exceptionally messed up. Nor do I believe that I'm so close-minded that if I did come across something I enjoyed that I'd be too stupid to admit it. In fact, I've blogged about reasons to live several times before.
So, is there something I'm missing? While I enjoy commiserating with those who hold similar views to myself, I would very much enjoy hearing from those who have found some secret DC nooks and crannies that I'm apparently too ignorant to know about. Or, we can all stick to the standard format where I'll mock DC's inability to use a mirror and DC can collectively assume I'm a small-minded, unenlightened jackass. I'm fine with either, really.
And actually, allow me to take this one step further. I want DC adorers to challenge me. Tell me about some place, activity or aspect of DC you think I've misjudged or overlooked and I'll take that task on and blog about my experiences, good and, of course, bad. Bring it, good sirs and madams! I say, bring it!
***BEGIN "BITCH PLEASE" UPDATE: UNWARRANTED PERSONAL ATTACKS, BIZARRE ACCUSATIONS OF HOMOPHOBIA AND MORE REASONS TO HATE DC, OH MY!***
Apparently, my snap judgments about a city are wrong and his snap judgments about me are right. Excellent logic! Of course I love that a whole blog post on someone else's blog is dedicated to me on the Internets (indeed, my e-persona's narcissism really does know no bounds!) , but I really do wish it was more humorous... Oh...wait. Writing humorously is so cliche...kind of like using the term "lowest hanging fruit," n'est-ce pas? But in all honesty, this did give me a chuckle as do most things in life. However, I didn't laugh as robustly as I usually do about a good ol' fashioned rape joke. Too bad everything can't be that funny.
***END "BITCH PLEASE" UPDATE***